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What The Fight Over The DEP Pinelands Forestry Plan Is Really All About

Follow The Money

The Biggest Green Grift Ever

Mike Catania's "Entrepreneurial Business Model" for the conservation community

Mike Catania’s “Entrepreneurial Business Model” for the conservation community


  • Carleton Montgomery, Director Pinelands Preservation Alliance (Source: PPA)

    Carleton Montgomery, Director Pinelands Preservation Alliance (Source: PPA)

    Why would so called “preservation” and “conservation” groups PPA (and NJCF?) meet quietly behind closed doors to negotiate an unprecedented, un-necessary, and destructive DEP logging project in the ecologically precious Pinelands, a world recognized Biosphere Reserve? (The DEP’s plan was so bad, the Pinelands Commission refused to approve this plan for 15 years!)

  • When the DEP plan was exposed publicly, why would they immediately close ranks, aggressively support and defend the plan, and attack critics? And why would they make such dubious arguments to do so?
  • Why would the DEP launch an unprecedented public relations campaign in support of the plan, in coordination with PPA and NJCF  – which included “alarming” legislative testimony, field events, press releases, and press Zoom briefings – and even threats by the DEP Commissioner of an unprecedented lawsuit to get the plan approved by the Pinelands Commission?

A NJ political veteran once advised me that if a policy dispute didn’t make any sense, then there were two possible explanations: 1) incompetence; or 2) corruption.

He suggested that I always assume the latter.

Well, this headline pretty much sums up what the absurd “debate” in the Pinelands is really all about:

As the Biden administration doles out historic levels of wildfire mitigation funding, fights are breaking out on Capitol Hill about how to spend the money.

Lawmakers from both parties are backing measures that would speed up forest management projects that cut down on wildfire fuels, like brush and small trees, which they say leads to “megafires.” But environmentalists argue that the proposals would bypass environmental analysis and community input under the guise of wildfire mitigation and potentially open the door to excessive logging.

But NJ environmentalists are not OPPOSING these logging plans, they are SUPPORTING them.

They are Green Grifters. Mike Catania’s business model rules. (I try to explain how it devolved to this point  in this post).

This federal forestry funding – plus tens of millions of dollars of NJ State funding under the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) for carbon sequestration and the prospect of hundreds of millions of dollars in additional funding from carbon credit trading schemes currently under development by DEP  – will be the largest green grift ever.

DEP bureaucrats and their corrupt conservation cheerleaders are obviously salivating over all this money.

Already, the Pinelands Preservation Alliance just received a huge grant from DEP. The money is for work outside the boundaries of the Pinelands – in the Highlands – and for a water quality restoration project that is way beyond the scope of PPA’s historical program focus and staff experience and capabilities. (NJ DEP Press release:

Pinelands Preservation Alliance: $581,500
The project calls for installing 80 green stormwater infrastructure projects surrounding 10 public lakes, five in the Highlands and five in the Pinelands. Converting 130,000 square feet of drainage area to green stormwater infrastructure will improve the functionality of the lakes, which suffer from pollutant overloading and limit recreational uses.

PPA is not going to bite the DEP hand that already feeds it and is dangling considerably more future funding.

Carleton is building his little Empire. He’s using Mike Catania’s entrepreneurial model. This is obvious.

Already, according to an 12/5/22 email from Emile DeVito that defended the DEP logging plan, the NJ Conservation Foundation “partners” with the DEP Forest Fire Service, who conduct controlled burns (we already knew that) and logging (we didn’t know that!) on NJCF lands:

Hi Bill. I have enclosed an aerial photo of the firebreak “thinning from the ground up” that NJFFS did for NJCF at the Franklin Parker Preserve.

Already, the NJCF “partners” with the Pentagon to manage wildfire risks in the Pinelands:

NJCF is not going to oppose logging practices they already engage in and get funded for.

The NJCF military partnership raises a whole other layer of corruption – recently confirmed by the Mayor of Bass River Township in a very detailed story written by veteran reporter Bill Bonvie in the Pine Barrens Tribune:

When Bass River Township Mayor Deborah Buzby-Cope was asked at a Dec. 5 township commission meeting about the tree-thinning plan, she responded there had been a lot of fires by the [US Air Force Warren Grove] bombing range and it was her understanding that “they want to have an area that is cleared out so they can stop it from coming this way.”

But when the mayor was then asked whether she was “OK with it,” she replied, “It’s not that we’re OK with it – they’re going to do it.”

So much for respecting local concerns.

I wrote about that possible military role recently, see:

Both PPA and NJCF have gross conflicts of interest and gross scientific bias in this debate and both organizations are corrupt. Their credibility is now shot. I hope it was worth it to them.

So, when things don’t make sense, as my friend said: assume graft and follow the money.

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